The 2023 Boclassic road race in Bolzano witnessed a remarkable performance from Sebastian Sawe, the reigning world half marathon champion from Kenya. Sawe not only triumphed in the men's 10 km race but also set a new course record with a blistering time of 28:00. This feat was closely contested by the European 10000 metres champion, Yeman Crippa, who finished a mere 3 seconds behind Sawe, narrowly missing the Italian 10 km record held by Pietro Riva by just 13 seconds. South African star and 5000m champion, Maxime Chaumeton, also delivered an impressive performance, securing third place with a time of 28:39, replicating his result from the previous year. This race was a showcase of endurance and speed, with each athlete demonstrating why they are among the best in the world.
“I really enjoyed running the course. There were a lot of tight bends. I received a strong support from the crowd. I am planning a cross country race next February in Kenya”, said Sawe.
The leading group formed by Maxime Chaumeton, Yeman Crippa, Maxime Sawe, Paulos Surafel from Great Britain and Pietro Riva from Italy went to the lead at the beginning of the race. Riva was the first to lose the ground and four runners remained in contention during the third lap. Chaumeton pushed the pace at the front with six laps to go, closely followed by Sawe and Crippa.
Sawe pushed the pace and only Crippa managed to keep up the pace with the Kenyan athlete, while Chaumeton lost the ground. Sawe and Crippa went through the halfway mark in 14:00.
Sawe broke away from Crippa during the sixth lap. Crippa tried to close the gap, but Sawe increased his lead to three seconds over the Italian athlete in the penultimate lap.
Sawe held on his lead during the last lap and crossed the finish-line in 28:00 breaking the long-standing course record held by Zimbabwe’s Philimon Hanneck, who clocked 28:02 in 1991.
Crippa repeated his second place from last year and was delighted with his result.
“I always come to Bolzano to run a good race and put on a good show for the crowd. I tried to do my best against the world half marathon champion. He was the favourite. I tried to keep up the pace with him for three laps, but he took the control of the race. I am in good shape. I am preparing for the Seville Marathon next February”, said Crippa.
Fearghal Curtin from Ireland took fourth place in 29:08 ahead of Paulos Serafel (29:13).
European cross country silver medallist Nadia Battocletti from Italy won the women’s 5 km race in 15:30 holding off Kenyan 1500 metres specialist Nelly Chepchirchir by three seconds. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi from Kenya, who won the Boclassic twice in her career in 2019 and 2020, finished third in 15:49. Giovanna Selva took fourth place in 16:11 ahead of 1500m world championships finalist Ludovica Cavalli (16:15).
A quartet formed by Battocletti, Chepchirchir and Kipkemboi and Giovanna Selva from Italy took the lead in the first lap with a gap of seven seconds over the chasing group.
Battocletti, Chepchirchir and Kipkemboi pulled away during the second lap. They went through the 2500 metres mark in 7:56 with a gap of 20 seconds over Rebecca Lonedo.
Kipkemboi was the first athlete to lose the ground with 1200 metres to go. Battocletti responded to the first attack from Chepchirchir and broke away with 600 metres to go to become the first Italian athlete to win in Bolzano since Maria Curatolo’s triumph in 1988. Battocletti set the second fastest time in the history of the Boclassic.
Chepchirchir crossed the finish-line in second place in 15:33. It was a good result for the Kenyan athlete, who finished fifth in the 1500 metres at the World Championships in Budapest and set PBs of 1:58.23 in the 800 metres in Grosseto and 3:56.72 in the 1500 metres in Xiamen last summer.
“I am very happy that I won the race on home soil. I was very confident as my training sessions went well. I felt the support from the crowd along the course. When my mother cheered me on, I decided to launch my kick with 600 metres to go. I am planning to run a couple of indoor races. My goal is to run the 1500 metres at the Olympic Games in Paris, but I will continue competing in the 5000 metres”, said Battocletti.